For conservation


Join The Lowveld Trail running group on the 21st October 2023 and raise money for Conservation. Running for conservation is an event where like minded people come together to give back to Nature and celebrate the place we all call home. To ensure we can enjoy Nature tomorrow as we did today, we need to protect all aspects of the greater ecosystem to prevent future knock on effects.

21 October'23

Elephant Rock Eco Estate

To be able to participate you will have to join the running event. Once you join the Lowveld Trail Running Event, you can contribute an additional R150 per person per entry to give back to conservation and to stand a chance to win an amazing prize.

Win BIG on our first RUN FOR CONSERVATION raffle. Lowveld Trail Running has partnered with Isambane Camp to give away a 2 Nights stay for 2 persons all inclusive, as well as a Surprise box (with a lot of goodies) while raising awareness and giving back to nature.

All funds raised from the raffle will be donated to the APNR Ground Hornbill Project.

APNR Southern- Hornbill Research & Conservation Project


We are aiming to raise R15,000.00 which will go to the APNR Southern Ground-Hornbill Project, based in the Greater Kruger National Park, who works towards slowing and reversing the decline of the species while carrying out fundamental research on these iconic birds. For the past 20 years, researchers from the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology have been investigating Southern Ground-Hornbills’ habitat-use, reproductive success, and behaviour. Our efforts focus on installing and monitoring artificial nests, and studying the birds’ reproduction and behaviour.

What is the main aim of the APNR Southern Ground-Hornbill Research & Conservation Project?

So Carrie and I work for different organisations which work alongside each other so might be best to clarify and differentiate them.
The APNR Ground Hornbill Project (Carrie) is run by the Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology and focuses on researching the species to aid conservation. Currently, the research is focussed on the effects of climate change on nestling growth and development.
The Mabula Ground Hornbill Project (myself) focuses specifically on the conservation of the species to slow and reverse their decline, using the information gathered from the research. This involves installing artificial nests, harvesting redundant second hatched chicks which are doomed to die and reintroducing them back onto the wild, education initiatives, and securing safe zones for the species.

How can the community get more involved?

The easiest way for the community to get involved is to send us sightings of the birds. A big part of conserving the species is understanding where they are thriving and where they are struggling and it is impossible for us conservationists to monitor birds throughout South Africa and southern Africa on our own. Sightings can be sent via WhatsApp to 071 325 8956 or emailed to Specifically, we need the location of the sightings, number of birds, date and time, sexes and ages if possible, and photos.
Funding and donations also go a long way and can help sustain the project. Nests are also quite expensive at about R10 000 per nest and sponsorship is always welcome.

What is the success ratio per box/nest that is put up?

Artificial nests are extremely successful with birds occupying them about 80% of the time. Natural nests are often a limiting factor for the species and so the birds are always looking for nests. Additionally, the artificial nests also provide protection from the elements which increases reproductive success.

How far does your work stretch within South Africa/Africa?

The APNR Ground Hornbill Project is based in the Associated Private Nature Reserves (Klaserie, Timbavati, Umbabat, Thornybush, and Balule), whereas the Mabula Ground Hornbill Project works throughout South Africa and southern Africa.

How do you decide the when, where and how before putting up a box in a new or used area?

There is a process involved before installing artificial nests. Anyone is welcome to approach us and enquire about getting a nest in their area, especially if you think the birds should occur in the area but don't. If there is currently a group of birds in the area, the first thing that is needed is to establish the group structure. If there are young birds in the group, it is a good sign that there is already a natural nest, therefore an artificial one may not be necessary. If there are no youngsters, then we will go out to find a suitable spot.
The artificial nests also help to facilitate the dispersal of birds into new areas. So if birds are only occasionally seen in an area, the installation of a nest can anchor birds in search of mating opportunities. There is currently an article in the Kruger magazine which explains the expansion project

Raffel prize

and for the lucky winner...


Lowveld trail running and Isambane Camp have set up a little surprise hamper as well as a 2-Night stay for the winner of our running for conservation raffel, who will be announced on the race day, at the end of the event. You may also sign up for the race last minute as well as participate in the raffle. Every step counts to make a brighter future for our wildlife.

On the day of the event we will announce the raised amount where the APNR Ground Hornbill Project representatives Carrie Hickman and Kyle-Mark Middleton, will be present to collect the raised funds and respond to any questions that you may have about the project.

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